History of the Internet and E-Commerce Essay

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Chronology of the Internet's Development

When the internet search titan Google stated a "mission to organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful," this vision statement encapsulated both the scope of the company's strategic objective, and the supremacy of the online age in modern society. Founded in 1998 by Stanford University Ph.D. students Larry Page and Sergey Brin, Google has since emerged as the global leader in the facilitation of online advertisement, e-commerce directories and, of course, internet search capability. Instantaneously locating the information cited above was made possible via Google's immensely powerful search engine, a fact which only serves to emphasize the possibilities to be derived when a successful company develops a strong identity within the arena of e-commerce. The concept of "universally accessible" knowledge is quite novel within the confines of human civilization, and yet Google's ubiquity in the exchange of goods and services leaves one with the sense that this once-impossible goal is now eminently attainable. Since its founding, Google has derived the vast majority of its revenue from dominating the realm of online advertising, as the overwhelming majority of modern consumers rely on the search engine to locate products they wish to procure.

1. Google, Inc. "Form 10-K, Annual Report, Filing Date Jan 26, 2012." Retrieved from Securities and Exchange Commission website.

During the internet's conceptual infancy the idea of establishing a network of computer users was purely strategic in nature, as researchers from the U.S. Department of Defense and their counterparts abroad worked to develop instantaneous communication via electronic computing. Soon afterward, however, a glimmer of the commercial opportunities waiting to be unleashed was seen, as the prototype ARPANET was used to facilitate the sale of cannabis between students at the Stanford Artificial Intelligence Laboratory and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. This exchange of goods for legal currency was widely regarded as the "seminal act of e-commerce,"2 a phrase coined by author John Markoff. During the early 1980s a number of initial forays into experimental e-commerce activity were made in European nations, including the advent of online ordering via the French Minitel telecommunication network in 1982. Soon enough California led the way in terms of American legislative response to e-commerce, holding hearings in 1983 to interview representatives for early online innovators like CompuServe, Volcano Telephone, and Pacific Telesis. When Tim Berners-Lee developed the programming code for the first web browser in 1990, his innovation launched the age of the World Wide Web, providing consumers with convenient access to the previously complex and convoluted online marketplace. By 1992, a Cleveland-based company called Book Stacks Unlimited began operating the commercial website www.books.com, becoming one of the first entities to offer credit card processing to conduct payment, and unwittingly providing an early model for modern e-commerce success stories Amazon and PayPal.

2. "Online highs are old as the net: the first e-commerce was a drugs deal." The Guardian, April 19, 2003. http://www.theguardian.com/science/2013/apr/19/online-high-net-drugs-deal (accessed March 22, 2014).

The release of Netscape Navigator 1.0 in 1994 brought with it the advent of SSL encryption methods, a process which was used to secure online transactions and thus expand the appeal of a previously niche activity to the masses. By the time Jeff Bezoz created Amazon.com in 1995, the template for e-commerce as we know it today was firmly established, with online shopping providing consumers with continuous access to affordable goods and services, convenient shipping options, and the freedom to make purchases on an anonymous basis. Since that time, companies like the online auction site eBay.com, travel agent replacement Expedia.com and product clearinghouse Zappos.com have sprung up to fill the ever-growing demand for e-commerce in the digital age.

As e-commerce has evolved in recent years, the concept of storing information on disk drives or other physical means has given way to the concept of cloud computing. A more thorough comprehension of cloud computing, and its relevance to the field of e-commerce, has emerged upon consideration of the evidence presented by contemporary research. Despite having roots in the emergence of mainframe computing technology in the 1950s, cloud computing as we know it today has only recently been developed and refined, with the online commerce titan Amazon introducing a widespread cloud-based architecture to streamline its internal operations following the post-2000 dot-com bubble, which forced surviving companies to adapt their practices or succumb to the…[continue]

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